Why you should tailor your CV to each job application

The question of whether to tailor your CV for each job application is one that sparks debate.

It might seem like tailoring your CV borders on deception or misrepresentation. However, customising your CV for specific management consulting job applications could be crucial.

Reasons to tailor your CV

Here’s why:

  1. Honesty and Accuracy

While tailoring your CV is crucial, it is equally important to ensure that it remains honest and accurate. The customised CV should reflect your true skills and experience. Any discrepancies between your CV and your LinkedIn profile or inconsistencies that arise during the interview process can waste everybody’s time including your own.

  1. Improved Interview Rates

Research by Jobscan, which analysed over one million job applications, indicated that tailored CVs saw a 300% improvement in interview rates. While correlation does not necessarily imply causation, it strongly suggests that tailoring your CV significantly increases your chances of securing an interview.

  1. Relevance in Management Consultancy Recruitment

In management consultancy, job titles such as “Managing Consultant” can be vague and uninformative. Tailoring your CV allows you to focus on specific projects and experiences that are most relevant to the job you are applying for, rather than including all assignments indiscriminately. This ensures that the most pertinent information is prominently displayed.

  1. The Role of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Most employers and recruitment agencies employ Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to streamline the hiring process. These systems scan CVs for keywords, job titles, and relevant experience. If your CV doesn’t contain the necessary keywords or match the job titles specified in the job description, it is likely to be filtered out before it even reaches a human reviewer. Tailoring your CV ensures that it passes through this automated screening stage.

  1. The Seven-Second Rule

Even when a human recruiter reviews your CV, the first impression is made within a very short time, often referred to as the “Seven-Second Rule.” This means that your CV needs to capture their attention quickly and effectively. A tailored CV, which highlights your most relevant skills and experiences aligned with the job description, stands a much better chance of making a strong first impression.

  1. Tailor your CV to Meet Employer Needs

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill positions with candidates who best meet the job requirements. By tailoring your CV, you are making their job easier by clearly demonstrating how your skills and experience align with what they are seeking. This proactive approach is beneficial to both you and the employer.

  1. Demonstrating Effort and Understanding

A tailored CV shows that you have taken the time to understand the specific requirements of the job and the company. This indicates to potential employers that you are genuinely interested in the position and have made a concerted effort to present yourself as a suitable candidate.

  1. Leveraging Technology

Modern technology, including AI and other automated tools like Jobscan, has made tailoring CVs quicker and easier than ever before. If you find tailoring your CV to be too time-consuming, it might be a sign that you are applying to too many positions, some of which may not be a good fit for your skills and experience.

  1. Staying Competitive

Recent studies suggest that an increasing number of job seekers are using AI to tailor their applications. By not doing so, you might be putting yourself at a significant disadvantage. Ensuring that your CV is customised can help you stay competitive in the job market.

However it is also your role to carefully review your CV and application to make the AI hasn’t made stuff up!

The Downsides of Tailoring Your CV

While tailoring your CV can significantly improve your chances of securing an interview, it’s important to consider the potential downsides. Here are some of the challenges and risks associated with tailoring your CV for each job application:

candidate writing a CV tailored to a job advert

  1. Time-Consuming Process

Customising your CV for each job application can be a time-consuming task. You need to carefully read through job descriptions, identify key requirements, and adjust your CV accordingly. This process can be particularly burdensome if you are applying for multiple positions simultaneously.

  1. Risk of Inconsistencies

Frequent modifications to your CV increase the risk of inconsistencies. If you are not meticulous, you might end up with conflicting information across different versions of your CV. This can be problematic, especially if employers compare your CV with your LinkedIn profile or previous applications.

  1. Potential for Misrepresentation

There is a fine line between tailoring your CV and misrepresenting your qualifications. In the effort to match the job description, there is a risk of overstating your skills or experiences. This is particularly true of AI which, let’s face it, knows nothing about your career and jobs!

Any discrepancies discovered during the interview process can damage your credibility and harm your chances of securing the job.

  1. Difficulty in Tracking Versions

Keeping track of multiple versions of your CV can be challenging. You need to ensure that you are sending the correct version to each employer and that you can recall which version you sent if called for an interview. Mismanagement of CV versions can lead to confusion and mistakes.

  1. Quality of Applications

Tailoring your CV for numerous applications might detract from focusing on the quality roles you really want and are best suited to. You may end up applying to numerous jobs with less relevance to your skills and experience instead of concentrating on the positions that are truly a good fit.

  1. Potential Negative Perception

In some cases, employers may view a highly tailored CV with suspicion, questioning whether the applicant is presenting their genuine self or simply trying to fit the job description. This can lead to doubts about your authenticity and reliability.

  1. Overemphasis on Keywords

Focusing too much on tailoring your CV to include specific keywords for ATS may lead you to overlook the importance of presenting a cohesive and compelling narrative about your career. An overly keyword-driven CV might come across as robotic and lack the personal touch that makes a candidate stand out.


In summary, tailoring your CV for each job application is an effective strategy to enhance your chances of success.

It helps you navigate ATS, makes a strong first impression, improves interview rates, and shows employers that you are a serious and thoughtful candidate.

Just remember to maintain honesty and accuracy in your tailored CV to ensure it withstands scrutiny throughout the hiring process.


Yes because it helps you get past Applicant Tracking Systems to the human recruiter who may be impressed by the relevance of your CV.
Yes because it enables you to focus on the aspects of your experience and skills that are directly relevant to the role rather than confusing the CV reviewer with less applicable information.
No: it is helping the hiring company by ensuring they can readily see your relevant skills and experience. However it is vital you don’t misrepresent your profile and always triple check AI enhanced CVs for accuracy.

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